Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is IPL?
Intense Pulsed Light is a technology where light is converted into heat energy. Treatments are like a very powerful camera flash lamp being held against your skin. The selected light waves target chromophores (colour pigments) such as melanin in brown spots and freckles; and such as haemoglobin in broken or diffused blood vessels. The light waves can also target specific protein molecules in acne bacteria and in collagen. IPL treats all conditions without disruption to the skin’s surface.
2. What is the difference between IPL and Laser?
Lasers have been used in surgery for years. The IPL is an adaptation of the laser, more suited to the beauty industry. The biggest difference between laser and IPL, as far as treatment is concerned, is the coverage. The laser beam is very narrow, only covering a small spot at a time, while IPL coverage is several times the area, and therefore treatments are much quicker. Lasers produce light from one specific wavelength, or colour, for a very specific target. The light emitted from the IPL is composed of a spectrum of colours from different wavelengths, enabling selective photo-absorption (light absorption) to different targets. In other words, using the IPL is like using a group of lasers in a single treatment.
3. Permanent Hair Reduction: How does it work?
Intense Pulsed Light targets the colour pigment (melanin) in the hairs. Therefore white hairs can not be treated. Dark hairs on fair skin have the best and quickest results. Fair hairs will require extra treatments with lesser results. Caution is required when treating hairs on darker skins; this is explained below and would be discussed more fully during your consultation.
The Hair Growth Cycle:
Hairs grow in constant cycles: Firstly hairs are actively growing, then they become dormant (resting), and finally they loosen and shed, only to be replaced by more new, actively growing hairs. Only hair follicles in the active growth stage are disabled by IPL treatments.
Hairs in the dormant stage of the growth cycle normally remain anchored in the follicles for weeks or months, depending on their location, but their follicles and associated hair germination cells are not disabled by IPL treatments. These follicles will be treated in subsequent sessions. This is why you need repeated sessions. Hair growth becomes sparser with each session. All treated hairs should shed within about two weeks.
4. Skin Rejuvenation: How does it work?
Skin Rejuvenation is also known as photo-rejuvenation – the non-invasive, non surgical face lift. The Intense Pulsed Light is absorbed by colour particles which are present in blood and in melanin. The IPL also treats the propioni-bacterium in acne and protein present in cells which produce collagen. Pigmentation marks slowly come to the skin’s surface and are shed naturally. Vascular lesions dissipate into the lymphatic system for excretion, just as bruises do. Enlarged pores, minor pitting and scarring diminish and fade. Fine lines and wrinkles are softened and may virtually disappear in some cases. Collagen & elastin production increases.
5. How often will I need treatments?
PERMANENT HAIR REDUCTION
A course of 5 to 10 treatments is usually required to treat hairs at all stages of the hair growth cycle, at 3 to 6 week intervals; which varies depending on hair type and colour, and the location being treated. Fair hairs will require extra treatments. White hairs can not be treated. A maintenance session may be necessary from time to time, due to the development of new hair growth appearing, as our hormonal balance continues to change with age, or due to the influence of stress, illness, disease and drugs i.e; steroids or contraceptive pills.
It is difficult to predict the number of sessions required, as it depends on the nature of the lesions to be treated and their size, plus the client’s skin type, condition and colour. Some conditions may require maintenance treatments from time to time. This will be discussed during your consultation. Different types of skin rejuvenation require different numbers of treatments.
The following is a guide only:
SKIN TONE & RE-TEXTURE:
Fine lines & wrinkles, enlarged pores, minor pitting & scarring,etc
2 to 4 treatments usually recommended, at 4 to 6 week intervals.
Facial redness, broken capillaries, spider veins, etc
2 to 6 treatments usually recommended, at 2 to 6 week intervals.
Freckles, sun spots, flat birthmarks, etc
2 to 8 treatments usually recommended, at 4 to 6 week intervals.
ROSACEA AND ACNE:
Results are profound, but these hormonal conditions may return.
2 to 6 treatments usually recommended, at 1 to 3 week intervals.
6. What happens at my appointment?
Consultation and Test Patch:
Your first appointment will be a comprehensive consultation to answer all your questions and to check that there are no contraindications to IPL treatments, such as medications which cause photo-sensitivity, and to ascertain the degree of recent sun or UV exposure on the area to be treated. The colour of your skin and the condition to be treated must be assessed, then a calculation is made to determine the appropriate setting. A patch test will be applied and we must wait to see the outcome. It is very important to be honest about medications and your recent sun or UV exposure.
The treatment area is re-assessed, wiped with a mild antiseptic lotion to remove all traces of oils, etc., and ultrasound gel is then applied. Both the operator and the client will wear glasses to protect their eyes from the bright flashes of light, then treatment may commence. The flash light lamp at the head of the hand piece is held against the client’s skin and the intense light is pulsed at the trigger of a button. The lamp is moved to cover the entire area, with a minimum of 2 seconds between each flash. Once the treatment is completed the gel will be wiped off and a cooling gel will be applied.
Hair removal treatments:
If your appointment is for hair removal; in areas of course hair growth the treatment area is obvious, but sometimes it is not so obvious, so it is therefore appropriate to allow the hairs to grow just a little, so that the operator may clearly see the area needing treatment. This area will then need to be shaved before your IPL treatment begins, because it is imperative that the light is targeted down the hair shaft to the bulb. We don’t want to treat (and heat) hairs on the skin’s surface. Where the treatment area is obvious, you may shave the hair yourself before you arrive for your appointment.
7. Is it painful?
Some treatments have little or no sensation at all, but for other treatments, clients may feel a slight sting, similar to the flick of a rubber band against your skin. Immediately after some treatments you may feel a mild heat for a few minutes, or a couple of hours, but after most treatments you will feel next to nothing at all.
8. How will I look after the treatment?
In most cases there is no visible reaction and you would be expected to be able to return to work and resume your normal activities immediately after your appointment. However, IPL causes heat in the target tissues; therefore it is quite acceptable for the area to be slightly reddened immediately after treatment, but this would normally dissipate within half an hour. It is possible for the skin to appear slightly red for a couple of hours and up to 24 hours.
9. Important Before Care
Sun exposure and tanning:
You can NOT be treated if you have had ultra violet (UV) exposure from the sun or sun beds within the past 4 to 6 weeks. Fake tans stain the outer skin cells, and this colour will intensify the IPL heat at the surface of the skin, therefore we cannot treat with IPL for at least two weeks after a fake tan application.
Waxing, plucking, threading:
For hair removal treatments, allow the hair to grow just a little, ( 2 mm is enough) immediately prior to your treatment day.It is advisable to shave between appointments, as waxing or plucking would remove the hairs that we are hoping to target in your next session. SHAVING DOES NOT CA– USE FUTURE HAIR GROWTH TO GROW MORE RAPIDLY OR TO BECOME COARSER.
Bleach/depilatory creams,AHA Creams, Glycolic or Salicylic Peels:
These products should not be used for at least one week before IPL treatments.
10. Can Dark Skins Be Treated?
Light produced by laser and by IPL is absorbed by the colour pigment, melanin, which is present in our hair and skin. Caution is required when treating people with dark skins, Asian skins and some other skins which tan very easily. Hyper-pigmentation or blanching of the skin is likely to occur if there is too much melanin present in the skin. It is possible to treat medium to medium/dark skins on a low intensity. The consultation process and a test patch, will determine whether each individual can be treated.